This is the box art for Amnesia: The Dark Descent, when it hits real world shelves.

This is possibly the most hideous box art I’ve ever seen. But, hey, you deserve it for not having Steam.

It is a great game though, so if you haven’t already got it, and you don’t have Steam for whatever lame reason, get it in one of those ‘shop’ places.

February 22nd is when it’s hiding in the shelves, terrified, clutching its lantern. Oh wait, that’s me.

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snapshot19 replied to your post: I’m still too scared to do anything about my xBox.

call xbox people, they are actually lovely and helpful, or at least get someone to do it for you. INFACT you may be able to contact support without calling, they have an IM system

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reclusivegamer replied to your post: I’m still too scared to do anything about my xBox.

If it needs sending back to Microsoft, you can just arrange it online without calling them.

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Thank you guys so much <3

Nuzlocke Challenge Entry #4; Gary Who?

I haven’t updated this much, due to the fact that I’ve mainly been training up my pokemon in preperation for Misty. There’ve been a few developments among my team, however.

First of all, I caught a Bellsprout:

Frederick, lvl 17
Gentle Nature
Ability: Chlorophyll

The bigger news, however, is that both Mike and my Spearow (which I forgot to name) have evolved. I now have a Raticate and Fearow!

Anyway, I took on Gary and pretty much One-hit-KO’d his pokemon. Im just training up Frederick now and then I’ll take on those trainers that hang around north of Nugget Bridge, before finally facing Misty. Bring it on.

Get it off! by jaekwon15

I completed Deadly Premonition the other day and it is now my favourite game ever, tied with Half-Life 2. The thing is, hardly anyone has heard of it. And this makes me very sad. So to impress upon people how strange a game it really is, here’s the protagonist, Special Agent Francis York Morgan (call him York, everybody does), being attacked.

Yeah. Some zombies bite or punch. These stick their hands down your throat and choke you. Eep.

Very good game. If you have an Xbox 360 or PS3, you have no excuse for not getting this.

You don’t even recognize me, do you writer? You think you’re god? You think you can just make up stuff? Play with peoples lives and kill them when you think it adds to the drama? You’re in this story now and I’ll make you suffer! You’re a joke. There wouldn’t be a single readable sentence in your books if it wasn’t for your editor. You’ll never publish another one of your shitty stories, ‘cause I’m gonna’ kill you…
—  The Taken Hitchhiker, my favourite quote from Alan Wake
Drawn: The Painted Tower Review

(Been a long time since I did a review!)

Drawn: The Painted Tower is a gorgeous Point and Click adventure game released by Big Fish Games. You can be forgiven, just about, for not having heard of it but I do heartily recommend it. I can truly say that it was one of the most original games I have played in a long time. The story involves you climbing through the various levels of a tower (of the painted variety) in order to rescue Isis, a small girl trapped atop it. While you’re doing this, an unknown force is approaching the castle, meaning you have to work quickly. However, the tower itself has fallen into disrepair and your route is often blocked. The owner has been transformed into a statue, so it is up to you to find a way through. Isis herself has left help in the form of magical paintings, which you can enter, and magical drawings, which come to life to help you out.

Let’s go to the really big selling point of this game: the graphics. They are, quite simply, beautiful. Every scene in this game has a beautiful hand drawn quality about it, making each scene look like a painting (even when it isn’t). Scenes that might look mundane in other games (such as a rope ladder stretching up to the ceiling) look picturesque. However, it is in the paintings that the graphics really shine. One of the central mechanics of the game is that you can literally climb into paintings and be transported into the scene they portray. This simple mechanic gives the developers so much more freedom to literally create whatever they want. And they’ve done just that. At any given point you may be finding a scarecrow’s lost possessions, the next attempting to calm down a very angry dragon, lying on a hoard of treasure. However, the graphics, while being a great blessing, can also be an annoyance in some cases. The items that you need are drawn in the exactly same style as the background, so crucial items do tend to blend in. For example, I spent ages hunting for something to hit a gong with, only to find that the thing was in front of me all the time, but had seamlessly blended into the background.


              Comparisons to The Hobbit are punishable by death.

Gameplay wise, the mechanics are really quite simple. It’s your standard Point and Click controls. Click on Item, Click on place for Item to go, about sums it up. Drawn does try to spice up this formula by adding a few new mechanics, however. Isis’ drawings, for example, can be used to solve puzzles. Throughout the game you’ll find them scattered around various places and, with a little help, the drawings can come to life. An example of this is when you need to find a picture of a bird, which then comes to life to eat away some bugs that have infested an ancient tree.  The ‘Painted’ part of the title sums the gameplay up very well, as paintings play a big part in this. Each of them have been painted by Isis and are, essentially, portals to another area. Within these paintings, you’ll often find solutions to puzzles inside the tower so it is crucial to repair these paintings as soon as possible.
Along with your standard item gathering shenanigans, you’ll also have lots of Logic puzzles to solve along the way. These serve to stave away any potential monotony and many of them require genuine thought to solve. One puzzle, for instance, tasks you to fill a grid completely with colour but without having two colours touching each other. The puzzles aren’t impossible, but they do require you to be awake if you want to solve them. While some puzzles do feel a touch generic at times, other puzzles are genuinely engaging. One such puzzle tasks you with creating and painting a Hero for a play, and then giving him the tools he needs to fight off a Black Knight and a Dragon, before encountering the Princess.

However, the gameplay rather trips itself up. It offers both Hints to puzzles as well as allowing you to skip any puzzles you are stuck on. Firstly, who actually skips puzzles like these? They are a core part of the gameplay and if you just skip them you are missing a large part of the game. You might as well just blindly click around until you hear the end game music. Secondly, if you wait long enough you’ll have the option to get a hint from the owner of the tower (who is still very much a statue), for no penalty (except the loss of a steam achievement). This, together with the skipping puzzles aspect, removes a lot of the difficulty from the game and, to be honest, it isn’t that hard to begin with. Most of the puzzles can be solved in a few attempts or with a small helping of common sense. The game is also very short and I would have liked to see the painting aspect explored further, as towards the end we’re confined to rather uninspired locations, such as the dreary outside of a cave. Considering the fact that including paintings meant they could create any location they wanted, regardless of how it fitted in, means it’s rather sad how they didn’t push it as far as it could go. Perhaps they could have had a painting of the ocean floor, which, when released, causes water to flow out of the painting? The possibilities were potentially endless. But no matter, they’ve made the best with what they have.


                                 A thunderstorm… indoors?

There’s one other point I want to make before I conclude this review. The soundtrack to Drawn is among the best I’ve heard. It manages to be both charging and eerie at the same time. The music that plays in the Window section, in particular, stuck in my mind and I found myself stopping for a while just to listen to it. I know the music isn’t really a selling point for a game, but I liked it so much that I thought it deserves a mention here.

In summary, I heartily recommend Drawn. It probably won’t remain with you after you complete it but what it offers for the price is wonderful. The graphics are beautiful, the gameplay solid if a touch easy and the soundtrack pleasant on the ears. It is a little short, but that just means it doesn’t outstay its welcome. If you’re looking for an original game to kill a few hours, look no further. Give it a chance, it won’t disappoint.

Score: 8/10

Buy it on Steam!

By the way, This is the music I like so much:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0TEVeRg6-g
Sega installs a games console in Urinals

Sounds ludicrous doesn’t it? I’m not making it up though. Titled ‘Toylets’, these mini-games consoles are getting a try out in Tokyo. The selection of games that are built in require you to strategically control the strength of your urine stream to play. Because, y’know, maintaining a constant accurate stream is so last year.

The Urinal has a pressure sensor and LCD screen and, so far, it comes with four games:

'Mannekin Pis' - Simply measures how hard you're pissing.
'Graffiti Eraser' - Tasks you with removing paint with a hose. Which would make community service a lot more interesting.
'The North Wind and Her' - Where you play as the wind and the harder you piss the harder the wind blows. The object of the game? To blow a girl's skirt up. It's Japan.
'Milk From Nose' - Rather self-explanatory. The harder you fire your golden stream, the harder milk sprays from the nose of your avatar. It's multiplayer as well. If you spray hard enough, you can knock the previous user of the Urinal's avatar out of the ring. Then you can be toilet, sorry, Toylet buddies. You can even save your high scores on a USB stick to show your friends. Before they demand you get a breathalyser test, presumably.

It isn’t all about games though. They’ll even show you adverts in between gaming sessions so you can learn about interesting new products while you pee.

Personally, I was hoping for a Sonic game, where the harder you pee the faster he runs. Sadly, no.

The Ask button and other animals

I have a newfangled Ask button now, for you to click to your hearts content. Well, not exactly.

I’ll only be answering gaming related questions, not personal ones. Personal Gaming questions are alright, though. I have an Email/Facebook/Real Life Face for the rest of that stuff. I also got rid of the fairly useless submission button because I like to feel like a God of this blog.

ANYWAY, something more interesting. Minecraft just hit One Million sales. 1,000,000 people are playing Minecraft. Proof, I think, that you don’t need a massive game studio that eats up smaller game studios without a backwards look (I’m looking at you EA). Bravo Notch.

And, to celebrate, instead of doing any actual work, I thought I’d link you to a blog that takes pictures of Minecraft’s massive world at its best:

SheMinecrafts

Sure, people can build fantastic castles and whatnot in Minecraft (like me) but seeing natural formations in Minecraft is like seeing them in real life: Magical.

She’s also a Geography Major, so she knows what looks good.

Now go gape at her pictures while I get the champagne and glasses.

Skyrim: Building better combat

I’m inordinately excited about this game, even more so now. The only thing that niggled me about previous Elder Scrolls games was the combat. But, everything points towards Skyrim fixing this. Let me explain…

The main innovation in Skyrim’s combat is the ability to assign weapons and spells to either one of your hands seperately. That allows for a lot more variety in fighting style. For example you could go with the Sword’n’Shield style (my personal choice), use a two-handed weapon or, even better, Duel Wield weapons. You could also combine two different spells and use them with ease, making a mage character infinitely stronger. Stealth is getting a few important tweaks as well.

Melee

Bethesda wanted to make fights feel more realistic than the disjointed combat in Oblivion. To do this they watched actual videos of people fighting and as a result have introduced techniques to make fights feel real. Camera shaking and staggering effects are in there for one. Fights are also no longer won by mashing attack, you have to block at the right time and use skill to overcome your opponent. Fail a block and you’ll be knocked off balance, leaving you wide open for a finishing attack. As the director Todd Howard says, “There’s a brutality to [the combat] both in the flavor of the world, and one of you is going to die”.

This is most evidenced in the special kill animations that have been implimented. When the right conditions are met, you’ll execute a killing animation, which dispatches your opponents with style. Along with this, you can also get perks for particular weapons to do things such as increase the rate of critical attacks or ignore armour. Along with offense, you can now do more with your shield than just raise it up. Holding down the block button bashes your opponent, briefly exposing them to an attack. You also can’t run backwards as fast, meaning backpedaling throwing spells or quickly rushing, attacking and then retreating, won’t work anymore. It requires brainpower to win fights.

Magic

Bethesda are taking magic in a new way, inspired by, of all things, Bioshock. The fact that you have to ‘equip’ a spell in of your hands means you need to properly specialise in magic. Mysticism has been removed, by the way, which is fair as I felt it was a bit confusing. Either way, you still have a massive pool of spells to choose from. And, along with that big pool, you can also wield spells in different ways. For example, you could blast enemies with a fire ball, hold down the cast button to create a stream of fire or lay down a rune on the ground, creating a fire trap.

Different attack spells also have different properties in Skyrim. Fire does the most damage, Lightning drains the enemies magicka and frost slows enemies down. That means that more thought can be put into what spell would work best against a particular enemy.

Stealth

Remember archery in Oblivion? Wasn’t that great, was it? While the bows were accurate enough once you’d levelled up, it still took several arrows to bring a target down. In Skyrim, however, it’s one arrow one kill, which sounds like a game-breaker. But, Bethesda say that they are making arrows a much more limited, and therefore more valuable, resource. So you can’t waltz into a fort with enough arrows to crucify everyone in there.

Sneaking has also been improved. Now, when an enemy detects you, they wont immediatly run and attack you, they will go into an alert state but if your sneak skill is high enough, you can stay hidden. Another sneaky bonus is the Dagger, which gets a massive plus in Skyrim, meaning you can get kills more easily as a steathly character.

Dragon Shouts

There isn’t much definite information about these, but as the Dragonborn you can wield dragon shouts during battle. These can do things like slow time or even call a dragon to aid you in battle. The difference between this and magic is that everyone can use dragon shouts regardless of their skills.

Can it just be November already? If Skryim has all of Oblivion’s writing and size and things to do, with the proposed improved combat, this could well be my favourite game of all time.

Too Much Free Time: The Enchanted Cave

This week on Too Much Free Time, I present you with an old-school RPG that absorbed a lot of my time: The Enchanted Cave.

That guy doesn’t look at all suspicious.

On the surface, the game appears to follow the standard Dungeon Crawling format. You work your way through the levels of the dungeon, down to the 100th floor, where you fight the final boss. Then, after the climactic showdown the credits roll.

The difference here is, you’re not a testosterone leaking Destruction machine. When you get too hurt you have to warp back to the entrance of the dungeon, to heal and sort through your gear. Eventually you’ll start getting stronger and get special artifacts as weapons, allowing you to push even deeper and finally fight the boss.

As for drawbacks, apart from the minimal graphics, the magic system is a bit fiddly. You don’t need to use it either, as I got through the game only using the healing spells and relying on my gears. But that’s just a teeny niggle in an otherwise damn addicting game.

More games need shifty-looking blobs.

Made by DustinAuxier.

Play it on:
Kongregate
ArmorGames
Newgrounds

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